NY-based media writer Michael Wolff does a veeery long ramble in the February Vanity Fair about the newspaper business in which he wonders why the billionaire boys club of Broad, Burkle, Geffen, Welch and Greenberg would be interested in buying such an out-moded product. One possible explanation is that these guys don't know much about the business. He has an off-the-record interview with "one of the really, really rich men who are lining up to buy the country's biggest newspapers," and this guy insists that there will always be lots of readers out there.
He said that, in his opinion, when people got married and settled down, that's when they'd start reading a paper. Why, he was just talking to X—a famous captain of finance—who agreed with him. In fact, said my billionaire, they would start reading a paper—these hypothetical newlyweds—if, if, they could start getting news without all the opinion. Keep the opinion on the editorial page!
But, most of all—and here the billionaire's eyes really focused—newspapers had to stop being so anti-business. This country was being ruined by the anti-business press. Sarbanes-Oxley, the federal business regulations destroying our competitive advantage, was all due to the anti-business press!
One of this guy's aides said to Wolff, "he doesn't have a clue," adding "He's probably the leading expert in buying businesses he knows nothing about." Wolff describes the billionaire as "an appropriately larger-than-life character, remarkably fit (I re-evaluated my own diet and exercise regimen)." That could be almost any of the above-mentioned guys.
More musings on the jump. Oh, before we get to the jump, did Eli Broad really suggest that one idea for the L.A. Times might be more pictures of donors at charity events?